IF THERE IS ONE THING that the holiday season does for all of us - no matter our faith, culture, race or belief system - it beckons us home. Fewer of us are able to actually travel home for the holidays these days, but our hearts travel in that direction. Sometimes it is with nostalgia and longing for days gone by. Sometimes it is with great pain and regret that we dredge up those memories of home. But in one way or another, I think we probably all return home for the holidays in some fashion.
The road home.
My mother put up a bright shiny silver tree each Christmas. It had this revolving wheel of colors with a lightbulb attached so that the colors reflected off the foil on the tree. We would turn off the lights, with a fire burning in the fireplace, and just snuggle and gaze at the changing colors of that silver tree. We kept that same tree for most of my childhood, so each memory of each gift that thrilled my heart is remembered in the shadow of the silver tree.
I've heard people make fun of those silver trees from the 60s, the same way they make fun of "big" hair in the 80s. But what I would give to go back and help Daddy carry the logs in for the fire, stand beside Momma as she cut the fudge made with pecans we had gathered from the old pecan tree on the side of the house. It is time for Christmas and I want to go home so very badly. Just for one evening to watch the shiny tree, feel the warmth of the fire and eat Momma's fudge. For me, home was warm and filled with laughter, and I was loved ferociously. No matter that people marvel at the tacky silver trees people decorated with in the 60s. There was love in our home and that tacky silver tree reflected it.
Not all of us were so lucky, but the wonderful thing about luck is that it can change. Life can turn on a dime. Tomorrow can always surprise. One of my favorite sayings is: It is never too late to have a happy childhood.
In this holiday issue, we talk about becoming who we were always meant to be in Sue's Becoming column. 'Tis the season for gift-giving, so Siobhan decides that jewelry is the item of fashion to consume our interest this holiday season. Robyn explores whether the old you might be preferable to always trying to be the new you for the new year - suggesting maybe gradual change is preferable to radical efforts. Mary takes us the Isle of Ischia from her childhood for a hearty (but healthy) feast from the Old Country. Rowen goes on a treasure hunt for old gold, and we surprise her by featuring her as our cover artist for the holidays. Montrose talks about celebrating love.
For those of us who have lost someone dear, we grieve our losses deeply at this time of year, but when we put down that grief, it is a time to celebrate love and life with the people around us right now who comprise our family and our experience of home. For many of us, family is made up of friends who are close when family is far away. Home may be a small apartment with our beloved, or a big old farmhouse you share with an old dog. The traditional home setting, for many, has gone by the wayside. Big families are uncommon today. The nuclear family may be spread across four states.
If you are surrounded with hugs and gifts and feasting at this time of year, count yourself one of the lucky ones. If not, we share with you a wish and a prayer that love will find you and that fate will gift you with only good things in the year to come.
We'll visit again in our Winter issue!
Photo by Rowen Miller
Donna Gail Broussard
Editor and Publisher
People ask me why I continue to use this amateur photograph - such poor resolution and image quality.
I tell them it was taken the summer I started the magazine, where I sat, day after day at my daughter's kitchen table, wearing my pjs, working relentlessly. Oblivious to everyone and everything around me.
There I am, so intensely focused (obsessed really) on doing this project that was...well, impossible.
This is my only photo of myself from that summer. I will always treasure it as a reminder of that hopelessly driven woman deep inside me who persevered against all odds that summer and actually found the impossible was possible after all.